I think I may just be slow to learn but am having no success. I changed the profile to 1.7.10. Downloaded forge 1.7.10 and installed. Then tried to install some mods but still no success. I dragged them into the mods folder that Forge made in Minecraft folder but they’re not shown under the Mods menu.
If I change back the version to 1.8.1 will it just revert to the "vanilla" version? And do I have to change the profile from Forge back to default? Or will I have to use the back up minecraft file to restore things to as they were? Also , if I have to use that back up file (copy), how do I do this? Do I just drag the copy to the library / app folder and delete the other file?
Sorry for the many questions, I would really like to get them a mod up and running but not quite there yet in spite of watching a few simple u tube tutorials and trying to work only through the reputable sites!
Let me see if I can answer all those questions for you...
You did the right thing by dragging the mod into the mods folder, that should be all that you need to do. Then run Minecraft using the Forge profile and if the mod is working correctly it will show up under the Mods menu. If that's not happening then something has gone wrong, either with the mod file itself or it's not compatible with Forge or other mods that you have loaded.
If you play Minecraft under your regular profile then everything will go back to normal, the mod doesn't get installed in the same sense that other software does. It simply means putting the mod in a place where Minecraft can recognize and apply it. So using your regular profile back in version 1.8.1 will cause Minecraft to run in its vanilla unmodded state again. You won't need to use the backup.
But yes if you did ever want to restore the backup, you would do exactly as you say and move it back to the .minecraft folder to overwrite the existing file.
Here are the names of a few mods that are popular, that I'm currently using and can confirm that they downloaded okay and work well with at least Forge 1.7.2 on a Mac:
Try those and see how you go. Let me know if you run into problems with them and I'll see if I can help.